SHIMLA: The failure of GST portal, absence of adequate knowledge about compliance procedures, continued confusion on levy of tax rates on different items and inclusion of mass usage items under 28% tax slab has generated gross dissatisfaction among trading community on the issue of GST and has resulted into great disillusionment for the traders across country.
"75 days of GST implementation in the country has turned out in a situation of complete nightmare coupled with great hustle and bustle for the traders who are bound to follow different compliance formalities under GST. On the other hand they have to wind up taxation formalities of erstwhile VAT tax regime,"said the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) while reacting sharply on the so far fall out of GST.
No direct dialogue and lack of coordination with Trade bodies by Central Government, State Governments or even by GST Council has further aggravated the situation. Consequently the traders feel grossly neglected in the whole process of GST implementation in the Country. Prompted by such a worst scenario and having extreme pressure from across Country, the CAIT has convened a two days meeting of trade leaders from all over the Country on 18-19 September, 2017 at Surat to take stock of the current situation and to discuss impact of GST on businesses of the traders. While chalking out future course of action, the possibility of a national agitation on GST can not be ruled out as it is one of the core agenda of the meeting. More than 100 prominent trade leaders across Country are likely to attend the two days meeting. The CAIT is the only apex body of trading community having the backing of more than 40 thousand Trade Associations across the Country thereby representing more than 6 crore small businesses.
CAIT National President Mr B C Bhartia & Secretary General Mr Praveen Khandelwal said, "Traders all over the Country support GST and it is evident from the fact that there was no resistance from the traders with regard to introduction of GST and in fact CAIT is in lead role demanding early implementation of GST in the Country since last more than 5 years.
However, the dismal performance of GSTN portal and lukewarm attitude of State Governments towards traders both before and after GST has brutally shattered hopes of the traders of having a simplified & rationalised taxation system in the Country. Neither the GST Council or Union Government or State Governments have bothered to consult traders who are the major stakeholders of GST."
Irrational classification of items under different tax slabs, introduction of complicated Reverse Charge mechanism, overlapping of other laws with GST law and absence of clarity pertaining to provisions of Act and procedure has led to a situation of utter chaos & confusion across Country, said CAIT.
Further to its woes, the utter failure of GSTN portal has added more miseries to the daily life of traders. No attention or facilitation of the State Governments towards equipping with computer technology to those traders who have so far not adopted computerisation in their existing business format is yet another big issue in GST compliance. Nearly 60% small businesses across the Country have yet to adopt computerisation. No mass awareness campaign was launched by either Government to aware both traders and consumers about basic fundamentals of GST and its compliance thereof.
Both Mr Bhartia & Mr Khandelwal added that traders are very much inclined to join hands with the Government in smooth transformation of GST but for that onus lies on the Government to take traders into consultation process and extend its hand towards resolving the core & critical issues.